The forgotten heroines of Adwa

When people talk about the famous Victory of the Battle of Adwa, the first person that comes to mind is Emperor Menelik II. Generally, when people talk about wars and soldiers anywhere in the world, what comes to mind first is men. But how about women? What role do they play during wars and what was their role during the battle of Adwa?

Women, historically, have been isolated from political decisions. Even in the West, women were not even allowed to vote let alone be involved in political decisions. Similarly, African women are usually portrayed to be helpless and are usually mentioned in cases that are related to misery not heroism.

Yet, there have been women leaders around Africa who have showed immense courage and leadership. One of those is Empress Taitu Betul, who lived from 1851-1918. Empress Taitu was an important figure in Ethiopia and her role in the Victory of Adwa is sadly given less attention when compared to Emperor Menelik.

Professor Tesema Ta’a, from the Department of History at Addis Ababa University, told The Reporter that unfortunately there are barely any researches that focus on the contribution of women for the victory of against the Italians.

It is said that Empress Taitu had advised and directed her husband, Emperor Menelik, to the right direction. She was the first to say no to the Wuchale Treaty and advised her husband against it as well. She is said to be the mastermind behind Emperor Menelik’s important decisions.

“The victory against Italians during the Battle of Adwa is also due to the involvement of women,” Professor Tesema said.

Read more at: The Reporter